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Creating an Accessible Website

People in an auditorium
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A issues

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AA issues


What digital challenges did you face?

AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) compliance in Ontario is mandatory as per government legislation. According to Ontario law, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (now known as Ontario Tech University) sites needed to be WCAG Level-A compliant by Jan. 1, 2014, and Siteimprove was the best tool we found for monitoring multiple sites and alerting our team to problems with actionable reports.

How has Siteimprove helped you address this challenge?

We redesigned our site in 2012 to be compliant, but we ported all the content over from our old site, which had a lot of issues. So, although we fixed the issues within the templates, we still had a lot of old content we had to fix.

The Web and Digital Media team used Siteimprove to identify problems and make amendments where necessary, starting with the issues that affected the largest number of pages. Some links in our main menus were causing hundreds of site-wide errors, so the prioritized lists of fixes in Siteimprove helped us make the most impact in the shortest amount of time.

Siteimprove also allowed us make accounts for individuals and faculties across departments so that they can log in and see reports for their own sites. Siteimprove is easy to use and can link directly back to the page where users can make the changes in the Content Management System (CMS).

What results have you achieved with Siteimprove?

We made our site WCAG Levels A and AA compliant before the deadline, which means that we’re not only meeting legislation, but exceeding it! Using Siteimprove, we went from having more than 40,000 WCAG Level A errors to having no A- or AA-level errors in nine months. We have hundreds of contributors on our site, so we’ll have to go in and fix issues that crop up from time to time, but now that we’re ahead of the game we can focus the majority of our efforts on other things like broken links and SEO.

Ontario Tech University’s Favourite Feature: “My Sites”

One of my favourite things to look at as a manager is the “My Sites” feature, which gives me a high-level overview of everything across our sites. I can see how many total pages are in the system for all of my sites, how many broken links, misspellings, potential misspellings, and more, all at a glance — or I can dig deeper if I want to.